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Sunday, 28 August 2011

How do you turn negative PR into positive on the internet?

What do you do if you find your company, products or services under fire on the internet?

A very unhappy listed UK company recently asked us for strategic PR advice after finding negative comments from investors on the organisation’s financial performance. It wanted to know what it could do to stop the remarks on a discussion forum.

Our top three PR tips on managing your online reputation
If these negative comments are highly visible on internet searches, posting a defensive reply on a popular blog, discussion board or social media channel will just ‘fuel the fire’ and make things worse.

In situations like these you need to get the basics right. Here are our top three tips:

  1. Push down negative comments with a strategic PR programme of good news product or company stories which generate positive brand messages on the front pages of Google and other engine searches.

  2. Resist the temptation of posting defensive replies

  3. Don’t order the removal of the comments just because you don’t like them!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

When a PR crisis hits, it’s too late to prepare!

A PR crisis is any situation that threatens your organisation’s image and reputation. Fail to prepare for it, then prepare to fail.

When a PR crisis hits an organisation the rules of the game in normal PR and media relations change dramatically. The speed of information and image delivery over the internet is often almost instantaneous. Speculation and public criticism through social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, can overwhelm an organisation within minutes. And if you are not prepared for this, you could find yourself in serious hot water.

Every organisation should have a simple crisis communications procedure or as I call it, a ‘PR protection plan’ ready to go when things go wrong. It’s not just good PR practice, it could be a ‘life-saver’!

Crisis PR requires efficient reporting systems

Whether you are dealing with a fatality, customer complaint, share price crash, or a product fail, you will need effective crisis reporting systems which alert your chief exec and senior management team to the situation in seconds. Staff and suppliers must also have a protocol for referring any media enquiries straight to your communications team.

Be factual, quick and truthful

When things do go wrong, tell your story factually, quickly and truthfully. If you ignore the situation, deny or hide it, it will get worse. People usually remember what they hear first and last so view the situation from their perspective not just yours. On a final note, don’t make the common mistake of handing the crisis PR and media relations over to your lawyers. If they are not communications professionals, it could escalate the problem.